Music Ear

Question: How can ear training help singers?

– Jojo (Fairfield, California, USA)

Albert’s reply: It is essential for all musicians to train their ear, since music is sound after all and it is our duty as musicians to comprehend it. A musician without a trained ear would be like a painter without a trained eye. Singers actually have a distinct advantage compared to instrumentalists: Singers are forced to hear the note in their mind’s ear before they sing it, whereas instrumentalists such as pianists can simply press a key and the note will sound whether or not they hear it in their minds.

However, far too many singers tend to rely on playing melodies on the piano while learning their music, which is very bad practice. Singers especially ought to be outstanding at singing melodies at sight, without having to hear them externally in advance.

Since singers can only sing one note at a time, often their understanding of harmony is deficient. However, part of ear training is recognizing harmonies by ear, and immediately understanding their meaning in a given musical context will make you a much better musician and help you communicate music more effectively.

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